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Mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) problems have been consistently identified as a top priority for Colorado communities – often their greatest health concern. UPSTREAM! is a Colorado collaboration propelled by the San Luis Valley Area Health Education Center, 2040 Partners for Health, and the High Plains Research Network aiming to prevent MEB problems in the San Luis Valley, northeast Colorado, and the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Colorado Anschutz campus.

  • Like cancer and heart disease, many mental, emotional, and behavioral problems can be prevented. There is a growing body of evidence that these problems can often be prevented by focusing on youth and strengthening families and communities.  

  • Unfortunately, there is a large gap between what can be done and what is being done to prevent MEB problems.  

  • UPSTREAM! is an opportunity for three Colorado communities to help close this gap and prepare to prevent a local priority MEB problem by working together and mobilizing necessary assets. 


UPSTREAM! will bring together the knowledge and expertise of community members, health professionals, and researchers to partner in a process called Boot Camp Translation (BCT) to prepare to prevent MEB problems. Together, we will:   

  • learn about the evidence-based strategies and health information around MEB problems.

  • identify a priority MEB issue, and determine what the local community needs to know and what people need to do around that issue .

  • create a long-term plan to get those messages out to the community.


Researchers and community organizations will form partnerships to develop: 

  1. adaptation of existing interventions in response to community-specific cultural characteristics; 

  2. preventive interventions designed based on research principles in response to community concerns; and

  3. preventive interventions that have been developed in that community, have demonstrated feasibility of implementation and acceptability in the community, but lack experimental evidence of effectiveness.

Recommendations by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine



Each community partnership will produce:

  • a set of messages and materials to increase awareness and change attitudes, motivate people, and identify action in local communities around the identified MEB issue,  

  • an achievable long-term plan to implement those messages and materials that utilize local assets, culture, and communication strategies, and

  • a practical plan to evaluate the implementation and effect of the resulting community intervention. 


And…BCT participants will be positioned to continue leadership roles in the implementation and operation of the prevention strategy they design!

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